The new Chapter 10 regulations regarding school and student safety are now final. The regulations were necessary to comply with the requirements of Act 104 of 2010 relating to the reporting of school violence incidents with an emphasis concerning students with disabilities.
On a biennial basis, school districts are required to update their Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with each local police department having jurisdiction over school property. Although school districts are not required to update their MOUs until their next regularly-scheduled time to do so, by September 30, 2012, the new Chapter 10 regulations still required school districts to provide their local police with a copy of the procedures on behavior support services which are in place at the school district. Therefore, if your district has not complied with this requirement, you should do so immediately. Thereafter, the regulations require that each school district provide their local police with a copy of the district’s procedures on behavior support services each time the procedures are revised. In addition, school districts are required to invite representatives of each local police department having jurisdiction over district facilities to participate in training sessions on the use of positive behavior supports, de-escalation techniques and appropriate responses to student behavior that may require immediate intervention.
When a student with a disability commits an incident identified either under School Code Section 1303-A(b)(4.1) or (4.2), the regulations require that the district’s response be consistent with the training provided in accordance with its Special Education Plan and behavior support program and, where applicable, as contained in the individual student’s behavior support plan. Similarly, when a protected handicapped student commits a similar incident, the district again is required to respond in a manner consistent with the student’s service agreement. For students with a disability who do not have a positive behavior support plan, upon notification to the local police department that the student has committed an incident either under School Code Section 1303-A(b)(4.1) or (4.2) the school district is required to immediately convene the student’s IEP Team. The IEP Team must consider whether a positive behavior support plan should be developed to address the student’s behavior. Likewise, with a protected handicapped student whose service agreement does not include a positive behavior support plan, the district, in consultation with the student’s parents, must consider whether a positive behavior support plan should be developed as part of the service agreement to address the student’s behavior.
The Chapter 10 regulations and the sample MOU developed by PDE enable schools and law enforcement to consider using school-wide positive behavior support or school-based diversion programs. A school-wide positive behavior support program is a school-wide data driven approach to improving school behavior by reducing unnecessary student disciplinary actions and promoting a climate of greater productivity, safety and learning. Likewise, an individual positive behavior support plan is one developed for a student with a disability who requires specific intervention to address behavior that interferes with learning. Such a plan is developed by the student’s IEP Team and utilizes positive reinforcement and other positive techniques to shape a student’s behavior. In comparison, school-based diversion programs are designed to divert youth from the juvenile justice system. Such a program may be used to address a student’s behavior as an alternative to filing charges.
If your district has not already done so, considering that the September 30, 2012 deadline has passed, immediate action should be taken to bring your school into compliance with the new Chapter 10 regulations.